The Mt. Tabor Tribune

A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community

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A Message from the Principal


Good afternoon, MTMS Families,

For those of you who are returning to us as at MTMS , welcome back! And for those of you who are just joining us this fall, welcome to the Mt. Tabor Middle School family. We are so excited to welcome you and your MTMS students into our community.

It is hard to believe that one year ago we were gearing up to launch into our first ever start to a virtual school year in response to the COVID pandemic. We experienced a great deal of trials and tribulations as we adjusted to the new "normal" of living, working, and learning from home. I know by the end of the school year, we were all optimistic that the declining infection rates and increasing vaccination rates would mean that we could return to school this fall in the ways that we always have.

As we sit here in August, with COVID cases again on the rise with the Delta variant, we are poised to start another school year that does not look, in some ways, like the ones of years past. We know our students will be back in building full time, but masked and with social distancing and health safety measures in place.

For some, the reality we are faced with may be disappointing or frightening. For others, it may be that these moments leading up to the school year are filled with excitement as our children return to five full days of instruction with the friends and teachers that they love. All of these feelings, in any combination, are completely understandable and normal. I too am in the thick of these as I work to not only plan to reopen our campus to nearly 700 students, but to also send my own three children off to our neighborhood schools, including MTMS.

I have felt and said this many times over the last year: there is nothing that this community cannot tackle together. And I have every faith in our families, our students, and our staff that we will continue to grow, change, and adapt to these conditions together. I remind myself daily of the joy we felt welcoming many of our students back for hybrid instruction in the spring with many of these same protocols in place. I know that we will take so much of what we learned about being a community, about showing up for each other, and about supporting our students' academic and social-emotional needs. I for one am excited to see your children in the hallways in the coming weeks and to witness their learning and growth over the course of the 2021-22 school year.

This newsletter contains a LOT of information, as these newsletters often do at the beginning of the school year. I hope that it will help you answer some questions. There is more information coming regarding the specifics of the first week of school plans, technology use/deployment, parent handbooks, and more, so please keep an eye out.

In this week's edition, you will find information about:

  • Where to find your student's course schedule
  • The schedule for the first day of school on Wed., September 1
  • Our regular building bell schedules
  • School Supply Lists
  • Student Verification Forms
  • Project Community Care on Sat., August 28
  • Lunch Plans and Support
  • New Faculty and Staff
  • Our first Tabor Talk (Wednesday, August 25)

I so look forward to continuing to serve this amazing community for the upcoming school year. If we haven't had a chance to meet yet, or have only done so virtually, I look forward to being able to meet you in person in just a few short weeks.

I hope you enjoy your last few weeks of summer.

All the best,

Ms. Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Student Schedules Available in ParentVUE and StudentVUE

Student schedules are now viewable in StudentVUE and ParentVUE for 2021-22 classes. Students can access their StudentVUE accounts using their PPS login and password information. Parents with previous activated ParentVUE accounts should also be able to view their student's schedule. If you do not have your ParentVUE access key and need to activate your account, please reach out to our main office beginning on August 9 so that we can assist you. You can log in to both of these resources at

We also want to remind families about current PPS middle school policy surrounding class change requests. We are not able to make changes to student schedules except in case of an error (duplicate class, wrong grade level class, student doesn’t have prerequisites for class). If you believe an error of this nature has been made, please contact Assistant Principal, Jill Liddle at

We suggest that families review their student schedules in the coming week and reach out as soon as possible if you discover an error so that we can work to make adjustments.

First Day of School: Wednesday, September 1

Unlike in year's past, ALL STUDENTS will begin back with us at Mt. Tabor MS on Wednesday, September 1.

  • 6th grade students and first-time students to MTMS will begin their middle school careers beginning at 9:15 am. Students and families will be able to enter the building beginning at 9:00 am prior to the start of our orientation at 9:15 am.. During our programming, students will work with 8th grade WEB leaders to build community and comfort at MTMS through a series of assemblies and small group activities. Students will receive printed copies of their schedules as well. Parents will also be invited to a meet and greet in the cafeteria with school administration.
  • 7th and 8th grade students will begin their school day at 11:15 am. Much like our 6th grade and new students, we will be hosting grade level assemblies and engaging students in activities to establish our homeroom communities. Students will be able to pick up a printed copy of their schedules as well before they enter the building.
  • During the afternoon, all students will run through an abbreviated schedule where they will learn to navigate to their classes, meet their teachers, begin to build their learning communities, and build knowledge about some of our school expectations & safety protocols.

Stay tuned for copies of the first day and week schedule in next week's newsletter.

Bell Schedules for 2021-22 School Year

Curious about what your student's day at school will look like? Below you will see a copy of the 2021-22 Regular Bell Schedule and our Late Start Schedule.

The schedule features separate grade-level lunches and a 30-minute Homeroom session daily (more details to come about what your student can expect from our Homeroom session this coming year (community circles, academic & organizational support , social emotional learning, racial equity lessons, and community building).

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School Supply Lists for 2021-22

You can find updated school supply lists below for the 2021-22 school year. A few things to note:

  1. There is a general list of school supplies for all students in all grades for families to purchase.
  2. There are grade-level specific supplies for each grade level.
  3. Instead of having families drop off community supplies, we are asking for families to contribute $15 via SchoolPay to cover the central purchase of needed supplies for the school year. The SchoolPay link for Community Supplies payments will be open the week of August 9.

School Supply List 2021-2022 (English)

Lista de suministros escolares para 2021-2022 (Spanish)

学用品リスト 2021-2022 (Japanese)

学校耗材清单 2021-2022 (Chinese)

Danh Sách Dụng Cụ Học Tập 2021-2022 (Vietnamese)

Complete Your Student Verification Form!

Each year parents and/or guardians are asked to review and update the information on file for their children (students). This information can be reviewed, edited and submitted online via PPS ParentVUE.

Benefits of verifying online via ParentVUE:

  • Complete yearly verification of your student's information
  • You can update your communication and language preferences
  • Ensures your school has the most up to date information
  • Saves paper and time
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Join Us for Project Community Care on August 28

After going on hiatus during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Project Community Care will return in 2021 on Saturday, August 28 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. and we are excited to come together as a Mt. Tabor community--staff, students, and families--to really beautiful our outdoor school spaces.

Project Community Care is an annual tradition where community volunteers come out to schools and help clean up the school grounds prior to the first day of school. And given that we plan to outdoor options for lunches, having our grounds looking great is fantastic. As you can see from the picture to the right, our interior courtyard can definitely use some TLC, as can the rest of our outdoor spaces.

Please bring a face mask, gardening/work gloves and your own water bottle. If you have other gardening implements (gas-powered weed eaters, rakes, wheel barrows, etc.) please feel free to bring them.

We will be coordinating efforts with our PTA to get the word out and recruit volunteers to help us in our efforts. We sincerely hope that you will consider joining us.

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Still Need to Pick Up Your 2020-21 Yearbook?

If you ordered and have not yet had a chance to pick up your yearbook from last year, you are welcome to come by the building to pick it up beginning Monday, August 16. Simply buzz in at the main entry, and someone in the office will answer to help you out.

Let's Talk Lunch: Plans to Help Keep Students Safe at Lunch

With the rising COVID Delta variant numbers, Mt. Tabor and all schools across PPS are working hard to ensure student safety. Students who returned to hybrid instruction may be familiar with many of the protocols regarding mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand sanitization practices. Our classrooms are being set up to provide appropriate social distancing of 3 feet. One area that is continuing to need our flexible and creative thinking is how we support student safety at lunch.


We will be marking cafeteria tables so that students have physical indicators of 3 feet of physical distance, and we will be providing outside lunch options. As we begin the school year, this will look like picnic lunches on the lawn/recess area. We are hopeful to work with our amazing community to see if we can fundraise for some permanent solutions for our interior (but uncovered) interior courtyard (e.g. patio tables and umbrellas). We will be communicating with our PTA and back out to parents if this is something you are interested and able to contribute to.


Arranging for multiple locations for lunch means we will need additional hands to help supervise these areas. While we are maximizing our use of administration, school climate specialist, counselors, and other teaching staff, we will still need additional volunteers to help us provide adequate supervision across campus.


If you are willing and able to provide lunch duty support, we would love to have you participate with us. All school volunteers will be required to go through the PPS Volunteer process (which can be found at and will need to abide by building health and safety protocols while on campus (self-screening, mask wearing, physical distancing, etc.).

Once you submit your application and background check, please be sure to sign up for dates/times that you would be willing and able to help. We have created a SignUp Genius for Lunch Duty Support for Quarter 1 with various dates and times that can be accessed at We would certainly appreciate your support in our efforts to keep our students safe.

Tabor Talk Is Back!

Last year, we begin hosting frequent parent presentations online to make sure that parents had accurate information, were kept updated to things happening at school, and provide ongoing opportunities for families to engage in workshops or connect to resources.

We plan to continue with this virtual tradition during the 2021-22 school year as well. And to kick things off, we are going to do a review of some of the details regarding the start to the school year: safety protocols, what your student can expect, etc.

Our first Tabor Talk will be on Wednesday, August 25 from 6:30-7:30 pm and can be accessed using the button below (which will take you to our Zoom meeting) or at

We hope to see you there!

Bus Route Information Available on 8/24

The bus routes and times for the 2021-22 school year will be posted on 8/24 and available at If you have questions or need help accessing your route information after that date, please contact Tania Trujillo Morales in the office at or at 503-916-5646.

Meet New Members of the MTMS Staff

We are extremely excited to be welcoming some amazing new educators to the Mt. Tabor family to begin the 2021-22 school year. Today we would like to introduce you to three of them: Maureen Brennan, Benjamin Finch, and Valerie Turner, and in the coming weeks, we have additional staff to introduce to you as well.

Maureen Brennan, School Social Worker

I was born and raised in Portland OR. I received my Bachelors Degree and Masters in Social Work from Portland State University. I have always wanted to be a Social Worker. I have worked as a Protective Services Worker, Street Youth Program Administrator, Child and Family Therapist, Case Manager in Behavioral Health and as a School Social Worker. I am excited to join the staff of Mt. Tabor Middle School.

When I am not working and connecting resources and services to students and families, I enjoy working on home renovations. I love watching HGTV. I also enjoy daily walks exploring Portland neighborhoods. I love to eat out, go to the movies with my son

and attend concerts. I look forward to resuming these activities, as we move to post-COVID living. In addition, I hope to resume traveling and look forward to return visits to Ireland, where my father was born and raised; and to Vienna, Austria where my mother was born and raised.

Benjamin Finch: Spanish DLI Social Studies and Language Arts 6

¡Hola! My name is Ben Finch and I am excited to be a part of the Mt. Tabor community! I will be teaching Spanish Dual language Immersion Social Studies and 6th Grade Language Arts this year and I am excited to be back in Oregon after teaching for the past 5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have taught both middle school and high school in the past and I have been fortunate enough to teach at three high achieving and award winning schools over the past 8 years. I also taught for a number of years in Spain and Germany.

I hold a Bachelor's Degree in History and Spanish from the University of Oregon, a Master's of Arts in Teaching from Pacific University, and a Master's of Arts in Human Rights Education from the University of San Francisco.

I love building strong and long-lasting relationships with my students and I also strive to help each student learn, grow, and perform at their best while also having fun along the way.

My favorite hobby is traveling and have been to over 50 countries so far! I also enjoy soccer, hiking, cooking, and reading. Recently, I've been spending most of my time with my wife and my 7 month old son Jack.

I am looking forward to starting this new school year and meeting everyone at Mt. Tabor!

Valerie Turner: English Language Arts 7 & 8

Hello! I’m Valerie Turner and I’ve been an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Portland Public Schools since 2006. I also have endorsements in Health and ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages). I am new to Mt. Tabor Middle School and excited to teach 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts this year.

I am originally from Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 with degrees in German and International Relations. I moved to Portland the month after I graduated and while Wisconsin is where I’m from (go Packers!), Oregon is HOME.

Before teaching, I worked in inside sales and marketing for technology companies. I went back to school and received my Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University-Portland in 2006. One of the best things about teaching is learning with and from my students and colleagues. Those light-bulb moments are my favorite!

I live in NE Portland with my husband, younger daughter (an 8th-grader at a different school), dog, and cat. My older daughter graduated from Grant in 2019 and lives and works in downtown Portland. My family loves to get out in nature and we spend as much time as we can on a lake in the woods. I enjoy making and fixing things, which could be anything from sewing a quilt to working on projects around the house. I love reading books in my spare time (no surprise, right?) and I also discovered the joy of anime during the COVID shutdown. I am so excited to be a part of Mt. Tabor Middle School and I look forward to meeting students and families soon!

Ricardo Ventura: Spanish DLI Language Arts

Hola, Mt. Tabor Community!

My name is Ricardo Ventura, and this year I will be teaching Spanish Language Arts to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students (2021-2022). I was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to the United States in 2010. As a new member of Portland Public Schools, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been chosen to work with Mt. Tabor students because I will have the opportunity to teach them not only my Spanish knowledge but also about Latin American cultures. This will allow students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, which is critical for them to understand diversity and cultural awareness.

My objective with my students is to create a productive community where everyone feels welcomed and trusted. I am certain that my constructive interaction with students will allow me to push them to their limits while also assisting them in achieving their full potential. I am excited to have the chance to work with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade children, and I look forward to meeting with you all soon.

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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